Starkweather is a cult band for a reason. The music that they commit to disc when “Croatoan” starts out is nothing less than furious. The track is about seven minutes long, and it shows Starkweather’s trek through a number of different genres and sounds. This means that there is a ton of death and thrash metal, but that there are breakdowns present that would make both Pantera and Black Sabbath happy. Also present are hints of sludge metal and even Anal Cunt; the band definitely has a pedigree when it comes down to it.
The track may be about 7 minutes, but it is as if the band cuts four tracks in that space. The band has the skills even with the diversity shown in a track to differentiate tracks. This means that a song like “Slither” is fundamentally different from a song like “Taming Leeches With Fire”. There is a much harder sound present in “Taming Leeches With Fire”, with the double bass drums kicking furiously as the band panders to the low end. The guitars are not ripping up the high frequencies, but are playing gut-turning riffs that are brutal. The band gets another gold star by breaking down the track, including heaps more chaos. This chaos is at least partially controlled, as the different vocals stick with a gameplan even as they walk all over the instrumental arrangements.
The band continues climbing up the mountain with “Vespertilian”. This track combines a marketable sound with the same growling, furious sound that one should expect from Starkweather. The track is by far the shortest on the disc, but the band does not lose anything; the point is still made and carcasses of lesser metal bands are still left all over the landscape after Starkweather gets done. The use of time signatures during “Croatoan” is one of the biggest selling points for Starkweather; the band does not care what is proper and more often than not decides to work under their own constraints. The band gives listeners back more than the money that they paid for this disc; the album ends about five minutes short of an hour, yet the fury and passion that Starkweather puts into this disc will last with listeners for weeks after the album ends. I want this act to cut another CD, right now; this is where popular metal should look to for the next five to ten years.
Top Tracks: Vespertilian, Silken Garotte